Florine Stettheimer’s Free Spirit Is Revealed in New Biography – ARTnews.com


Florine Stettheimer’s paintings Family Portrait II (1933), a work she regarded as her masterpiece, the artist depicts herself standing beside her sisters Carrie and Eti and her mother Rosetta. Slender Stetheimer, with a palette in her hands and chic red high heels at her feet, stares up as if Eti was indulging in her fantasies while Carrie was talking to Rosetta. increase. From the center of the composition, a mysteriously large bouquet of three woven flowers erupts across a gentle blue background. These surrealistic flower arcs mimic the postures of Carrie, Eti and Rosetta. Florin stands awkwardly sideways and never rhymes in this way.

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Trio Flowers for Female Quartet: A Real Challenge. Still, like everything Stetheimer did, this strange composition was completely purposeful.With her thrilling new book Florine Stettheimer: Biography (Harmer), art historian Barbara Bloemink convincingly claims in this painting that Stettheimer was trying to find a way to visually convey her Elan. “Rosetta, Carrie and Eti spent their lives intertwined and always traveled, lived and socialized together,” Broemink wrote. “On the contrary, Florin constantly fought to find her time to paint … she is free, an artist and an observer of the scene on her own.”

The truth is about Stetheimer, who was an integral part of the New York art scene in the first half of the 20th century, but is no longer ranked among the most famous artists of the era. It may never happen. Her paintings depict many of those figures: Carl Van Vechten, a writer and photographer who blows cigarettes in a crimson room, a sophisticated vision where the face emerges through white gaps like a supernatural vision. Marcel Duchan, trench-coated Alfred Stieglitz looks into some avant-garde work critic Henry McBride in a small reproduction of some of his beloved objects. I was sitting on the stool. Rendered in warm colors in a style that Marsden Hartley once ridiculed as “super feminine,” these paintings were praised and widely seen by critics. Still, Stettheimer has historically not had a smash hit memoir like Sélavy or a politically progressive savant like Van Vecten. Bloemink’s biography shows one passionate attempt to prove Stettheimer, who she named “one of the most innovative and important artists of the 20th century.”

Broemink, who co-curated a retrospective exhibition of Elizabeth Sussmann and Stettheimer at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1995, was a recluse and she had never shown her work in her lifetime. (Bloemink considers some of these to be inaccurate in the 1963 biography by critic Parker Tyler, as Van Vecten once wrote. He “uses his imagination. He created the life story of Stettheimer, showing that Stettheimer may have been more connected than most artists of his time.

A picture of a naked woman lying on the bed, staring at the viewer with a bouquet of flowers.

Florin Stetheimer, Nude self-portrait, Ca. 1915.
Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York

In part, this was because Stettheimer came from “the airtight and economically comfortable world of prominent New York Jewish members of the” Hundred Families “of other societies,” Bloomink said. Is writing. Born in 1871, Stettheimer was wealthy and proud. The good luck of her family gave her the ability to travel easily. She jumped on a ship to Italy and visited the Uffizi Gallery, where she was able to determine that Botticelli was lacking in rendering human anatomy. She could head to Paris, where she saw Mattis’s modernist experiment and pronounced his imitator “ridiculous.” In her diary. ” When she returned to the United States permanently in 1914, “Stetheimer returned as a mature woman who tasted the most innovative and controversial elements of avant-garde art, such as nudity and performances by strongly liberated women. I did …, “according to Bloemink. That same year, at the age of 43, Stetheimer signed an agreement with herself to focus solely on her artistic career.

Around 1915, Stetheimer painted what could be her first great work. Nude self-portrait, Depicts an artist implicitly staring at the viewer while holding a bouquet. This painting is now considered a tear in the structure of art history, but few would have known about it when it was made. Stetheimer did not show it publicly throughout his life. There were reclining nudity before this by Titian, Goya, Manet and others, but according to Bloemink, nothing was done from a female point of view. Focusing on the gaze that Stetheimer knows and the inclusion of reddish pubic hair that would have been a scandal at the time, Broemink made this painting the first of a naked self-portrait of a “female” rather than a “male”. We call it a known example.

Nothing was created later by Stetheimer Nude self-portrait Just like that, it can be called a tasty attack on the norms of the day, but even if it’s certainly mixed in quality, we have to say a lot about: A series of calm still lifes-Stettheimer called her bouquet “Igay” -provided a path to a dazzling figurative scene where people lined up around a flat space. They are quaint scenes, and lithe people often celebrate at outdoor parties. Think of Watto as American modernism. In many cases, there are numerous formal experiments. For example, repeating the same person in different poses as a way to collapse different discrete moments of different times into one image can result in the loss of everything in the magnitude of the visual joy of each canvas. I have. Offer. Indeed, Stetheimer even seemed to know this. In one of her many poems, she writes:

Outside of me
Around me
Knock me
Jarling me
Hurt me
Make me angry
Willing to force me to draw them

A painting of a beach scene in rich yellow tones featuring an array of supple black bathers swaying and tanning in the sunlight. There are some awnings hanging over them, and there are also some white swimsuits under the umbrella.

Florin Stetheimer, Asbury Park South1920.
Halley k collection.Harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York

However, it’s best to look at these pictures carefully. It may look cute, but it also has bites. In the most exciting section of this biography, Bloomink states that one group of Stettheimer’s paintings may even contain clear explanations of race, gender, and gender.Take the example of Beauty Pageant: In Memory of PT Barnum (1924), it appears to depict a chaotic pageant. One judge is wearing a swastika-decorated dress that was already accepted by the far-right German movement. “It’s interesting to speculate if the artist also mentioned that there were no Jewish contestants among the bathing beauties,” Bloemink said.

A chaotic painting of a giant temple-like building, inlaid with the characteristics of male ovulation and waving the American flag. There are soldiers on the street below.

Florin Stetheimer, Wall Street Cathedral1939.
Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are good reasons to abandon the political content of Stettheimer’s paintings, but there are also good reasons not to understand her words correctly.Writing a black swimsuit that sways and reclines Asbury Park South (1920), Bloemink praises Stetheimer for portraying these figures in “diversified” skin tones and “no caricature.” If you need to praise the white painter to do this, the proverbial bar should be on the floor. (It is also arguable whether a black person really has a caricature.) There is also the issue of Stetheimer’s class, but this is almost always treated uncritically. Towards the end of the Great Depression in 1939, Stetheimer Wall Street Cathedral, A tribute to New York’s exaggeration and delight in capitalism. Given how much money millions of people lost in the years leading up to this painting, it may seem like a strange subject, but Stetheimer and her sisters The fact that they “overcame depression without much effort” may explain that they are of great interest in their investment, “Bloemink wrote. It can be difficult to square Stetheimer’s progressiveism to how much her privileges have protected her.

Bloemink struggles to point Stettheimer as a pioneer, and the word “first” is constantly being evolved, even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense. Nude self-portrait Can be in This is the first image of this kind, but it certainly has precedent. Paula Moderson Becker, who died almost 10 years before Stettheimer painted. Nude self-portrait, Drawn naked, staring out many times.Later, when it comes to the Maquette and Set Dresser offered to Virgil Thomson’s 1934 opera, Stettheimer Four Saints in Three ActsBloemink claims that this work was “the first avant-garde opera,” although it was talked about because it included an all-black cast.But of Alban Berg Wozzeck (1925) also exists.

Perhaps Stetheimer accepted all this credit, some of which are unjustified. Probably not. Tending to attribute unfounded views to Stetheimer, Bromink sticks to the facts of Stetheimer’s life and art. Stettheimer is independent, and Marcel Duchan organized a retrospective exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Art for her in 1946, two years after her death. She shines with the light she once wrote, and she was most noticeable when she was alone.

When I meet a stranger –
From courtesy
Turn on the software
Pink light
Looks modest
Even attractive
It’s protection
Against wear
And tears
And when
I get rid of
Always a stranger
Turn on the light
And be yourself


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